Just like summertime
PAOK kept their level of fine performances and returned to their winning ways after eight encounters, a fact that renders this 2-0 victory over Asteras Tripolis all the more important.
PAOK had to deal with a rival that usually gives them a hard time at Toumba Stadium, with their lengthy injury list and the burden of negative results –and all that, three days before the crucial Greek Cup semi-final against Olympiacos. The “Double-Headed Eagle” displayed focus, attacking spirit and a clear plan. Had they been more effective in their finishing, they would have won by a larger scoreline.
Igor Tudor insisted in a defence of three and a loaded midfield and his side brought back pleasant memories of the season’s start. They combined well, they passed the ball around accurately and created many goalscoring chances. Meanwhile they kept Asteras away from Markos Vellidis’s box.
PAOK’s youthful side brought out energy on the pitch and took an early lead. Giannis Mystakidis didn’t go for an earned foul but kept on his slalom and at the right time he passed the ball to Stelios Kitsiou. The latter teed up Dimitris Pelkas who beat Bantis in the 17th minute.
Despite their numerous chances with Mystakidis, Pelkas and Róbert Mak, PAOK hit the locker rooms with their 1-0 lead. After the interval they looked a bit tired and cautious in their tackling, due to the Olympiacos’s visit this week.
Tudor shuffled his pack and managed to restore PAOK’s dominance on the pitch with Ergys Kace and Alexandros Tziolis in midfield. He also rested Kitsiou and Marin Leovac.
The “Double-Headed Eagle” kept searching for a second goal through Pelkas, Mystakidis and Mak –and it was the Slovakian player who got on the scoreboard. Kace’s clever through-pass beat the offside trap of the Arcadia outfit and Mak made it 2-0.
PAOK’s fine performance was reminiscent of their fine form of August or September, the Toumba faithful enjoyed their evening and everything seems ideal ahead of Wednesday’s Greek Cup clash.
PΑΟΚ: Vellidis, Vítor, Chatziisaias, Tzavellas, Leovac (82′ Κorovesis), Cimirot, Pelkas, Antonis (72′ Τziolis), Kitsiou (62′ Kace), Μak, Mystakidis.
Asteras Tripolis: Bantis, Panteliadis, Alloco, Sankaré, Ζisopoulos, Lluy (79′ Fountas), Hamdani, Dudu (46′ Moukam), Dimoutsos, Μazza (62′ Ioannidis), Bertoglio.